Pipeline in the Sky

We use fuel every day to heat our homes and generate electricity. Now—imagine living in a tiny village in Alaska in the dead of winter. You need fuel to heat your home, but there’s no way to truck it in. Roads haven’t even been built to your corner of the state, and there’s no river for barge access.

Everts Air Fuel has you covered. Just look up.

In rural Alaskan villages with no road access, nearly all goods must be transported by air. This includes fuel, which requires special aircraft equipped with aluminum tanks to handle 2,000-5,000 gallons of fuel and certified by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Everts Air Fuel is the primary source of fuel for most rural villages in the state, with operations out of Kenai and on the West Ramp of Fairbanks International Airport. They serve around three dozen mining communities and small villages throughout the year.

When your fuel arrives by plane, every drop is precious. Villages must keep a close eye on their supply and order more before it runs dry. Occasionally, villages must ration fuel or go without if their calculations were slightly off. To most Americans, the idea of surviving without basic necessities like heat and electricity is an unfamiliar and uncomfortable concept.

“It is different for anybody that’s used to being able to drive down to the corner store- you just don’t have that,” Karen Wing, Manager of IT Services, says of Everts’ delivery service. “The whole concept of having to plan and organize getting fuel in for a village so that you can anticipate how much fuel you might use in a month—it’s a different process. And if you don’t have it—you don’t have it and you just do without.”

No other state in the country must go to these lengths to simply heat and power its communities, and the only real comparison lies across the border in northern Canada.

Residents can recognize planes from Everts Air Fuel by their distinct marks when they land in a community. A captain with the company designed nose art for every plane in the fleet, made memorable by the unique markings, decals, and paintings across the front of the aircraft. His artwork incorporates Charlie Brown, legendary aviator Howard Hughes, an American flag, and a Japanese maid—just to name a few. He often takes cues from the history or specialized use of a particular aircraft for its custom design.

Everts Air Fuel is a sister company of Everts Air Cargo, both owned and operated by a family with a long history in Alaskan aviation. Cliff Everts is the original founder of Everts Air Fuel, and the East Ramp of Fairbanks International Airport is dedicated in his name. Cliff was recently (April 2013) inducted into the Alaska Aviation Hall of Fame for his entrepreneurship in the flight industry. His son, Rob, owns and operates Everts Air Cargo, and several family members are still employed in the Fairbanks, Kenai, and Anchorage offices.


Directly across from the bar on the second floor of the terminal, hanging on the north wall next to the security exit is a Global Time Indicator donated by Everts Air.

Photo Credit:

  • Image taken by Aaron Kobbeman

Getting There